- Nov 26, 2017
- US of A
I will be sure and add part 2 tomorrow.
Black Powder for Self-Reliance – Part 1, by M.B.
SurvivalBlog Contributor October 8, 2019
Making black powder, while safe in the author’s experimental experience, can be dangerous. The author and SurvivalBlog.com do not endorse making black powder, and you do so at your own risk. Making black powder could also be in violation of the laws in your jurisdiction. You are responsible for compliance with all laws in your area. Neither the author, nor SurvivalBlog.com, are responsible for your use of the information in this article. The processes described herein are therefore for informational purposes only.
Black powder can be dangerous if there is a gap between the powder and the projectile, when the firearm is loaded. When loading a muzzle loading firearm, be sure to seat the projectile firmly, so there is no empty space above the powder. This includes cap-and-ball revolvers, which can have no space between the powder and the ball or bullet, although wads can be used to fill the space when a light powder charge is used. When loading black powder cartridges, there must be no empty space inside the cartridge. You may need to use a wadding or other “filler” over the powder to take up the space inside the case.
This article is intended to show the potential usefulness of black powder to preppers, especially in times of ammo shortages and gun bans, and to show how easy it is to make almost everything you need to keep a black powder firearm running, just about indefinitely. Please understand the repeated safety warnings: black powder behaves differently from smokeless powder, and knowing its unique characteristics is essential. You are strongly advised to exercise caution and to seek out a good black powder manual before venturing into black powder shooting for the first time.
WHY BLACK POWDER?
In a time of inexpensive AR-15s and plentiful ammo, it may seem silly to bother with black powder. It’s messy and will invite moisture and corrosion if not cleaned promptly. Black powder does not produce high velocities, and its low pressures and fouling make it incompatible with most semiautomatic firearms. It also produces a substantial amount of smoke. Outside of hunters and reenactors, many people look at black powder firearms as range toys with no applications as “serious” firearms.
On the other hand, just a few years ago, many of us were affected by an ammunition “drought,” in which .22 LR, 9mm Parabellum, and many other common types of ammunition were in extremely short supply. When ammo was found, it was often for sale at scalper’s prices. Reloading components — especially smokeless powders — were also scarce, as desperate gun owners resorted to reloading as their only source of ammunition.
Such times may come again, and without warning. Even as we see high-profile acts of violence with firearms which fit the narrative of the mainstream media and the Left (but I repeat myself), we are seeing more pushes for gun control. Attacks such as the mass shooting in El Paso will be used as justification to try to take away gun rights. Even if unsuccessful, the efforts can spawn buying panics that can result in sudden shortages of guns, magazines, ammo, and reloading supplies.
During the Great Obama Ammo Troubles (GOAT), I was able to keep shooting with black powder, since percussion caps were still available in my area, as were black powder substitutes, such as Pyrodex. I was able to conserve my stock of centerfire ammunition and smokeless powder by shooting black powder arms and by using black powder — or a substitute — in cartridges (I had stocked up on primers before the drought) for some centerfire firearms.
Even if there are no more mass murders with firearms, those days of scarcity could easily come again. Virtually every Democrat candidate for President in 2020 has made statements about wanting to ban a wide range of firearms. Some want door-to-door confiscation, while others prefer to confiscate firearms through Australian-style mandatory “buy backs” (confiscation, with compensation paid for by taxpayers). One former Democrat candidate from California even suggested using nuclear weapons on gun owners who defied the power of the State.
What will you do when gun store shelves are bare, and “gun shows” offer little more than tables of gun parts, knives and beef jerky? How will you stretch your finite stock of ammunition and reloading supplies, while continuing to use firearms to train, to hunt, and in necessary tasks, such as pest and predator elimination?
Black powder won’t work well in your Glock or in your AR-15, but in the right applications, black powder is surprisingly useful and effective. The firearms used in wars until the late 19th Century, those used in the winning of the American West, and the guns people relied upon in countless instances of self-defense, were all powered by black powder. The truth is that black powder firearms are powerful, accurate and very capable, if their limitations are understood and allowed for.
Moreover, black powder lends itself to “do it yourself” shooting. Many of the essentials can be homemade, often for very low prices. More on that, later.
First, let’s look at how black powder could be used to address some of the possible needs of people who wish to be more self-reliant in the event of some future catastrophe. We’ll examine defense, hunting, and long-range shooting.